Show me the stereotype please…can you?
So there he is dear reader, LS packed up beautifully in a box labelled Autism.
When you open the box you will find LS residing in there with his autism peers, lining up toy cars, abhorring the dentist and haircuts in equal measures, completely lacking the ability to display affection to those who love him so dearly, being generally emotionally ‘cold’ and being prone to unexpected violent outbursts that can be very disturbing to the onlooker.
Hang on a minute though; LS has never lined up a toy car in his life. He did line up CDs in our hallway and called them traffic lights aged two…does that count?
LS is bordering on obsessive with his love for all things dentisty-related. Nothing excites him more than the sound of a drill at the dentist’s. To his great disappointment he has never required the drill treatment. How could he? He is forever brushing his teeth. He’s a dentist’s dream patient. After many years wandering in the wilderness on this particular obsession of LS’s, I now realise that all things dental-related nourish LS’s very strong oral-sensory needs. Behold the polished pearls of LS dear reader!
The same can be said for the haircut obsession. LS has been blessed with a thick mop of curly hair that he loves having styled. He loves the feel of the water-spray aimed at it, the sound of the scissors snipping it and the final blow-drying experience. This is a huge sensory feast for LS. Lovely!
LS is one of the most affectionate people I know. He adores being hugged and squeezed. He’ll now say to you “squeeze please” when he feels the need; thanks in no small measure to the extraordinary work of his teachers at school, in this particular regard. Is there any better way to show you are happy, to tell somebody you love them and are appreciative of their help, than by simply giving them a hug? Further for LS all those hugs and squeezes giving him tremendous sensory stimulation. Everyone’s a winner on this front, again, lovely!
If LS is misunderstood or he misunderstands what is going on then he will be upset. Who wouldn’t be? When one thinks about it, misunderstandings are the seeds for some of the greatest conflicts in human history. People fail to listen to another’s perspective; they steadfastly go on with their plans, without a thought to the impact such plans may have on another one’s daily life. No dialogue takes place; no opportunity is created for compromise. What hope for harmony? In my humble opinion dear reader, effective communication is the key..for us all. Everyday we were work at this with LS and it does work. The upsets have gone down, the harmony has gone up, but we have to keep working at this…everyday. Who doesn’t though?
Who knows; if we all kept working on this effective communication business with our neighbour, some day there may be no more boxes lined up beautifully packaged, with labels like autism, muslim, gay, white, aged, weird, loner inscribed on them.